Fancy an alfresco swim? Readers share their tips including lidos, a private lake and a restored art-deco masterpiece
Ilkley Lido, West Yorkshire
Ilkley’s outdoor pool is in the perfect location on the edge of town, yet you can look up and across to the famous moor. Go and you’re instantly a child again – even on a dull day you feel as if it’s sunny. It’s nostalgic without feeling dated or jaded, a pool where you can swim and play.
Denton Road, lkley, bradford.gov.uk, adults £5.70, kids £2.80
Greenbank Lido, Street, Somerset
Two large pools are surrounded by spacious lawns dotted with mature trees. The main pool is 30 metres long with a deep end for diving, and the semi-circular children’s pool has a slide. The water feels luxuriously warm, and the place beautifully maintained and spotlessly clean.
Wilfrid Road, greenbankpool.co.uk adults £5.20, kids £4.10
Portishead Lido, Portishead
Perched on the edge of the Bristol Channel, the 1960s Portishead pool makes for a breezy but cheerful swim. Run almost entirely by volunteers, it was saved from closure and given an extreme makeover in 2009. It’s open April to September, heated (typically 28C) with green energy, and there’s an old-school tuck shop where a coffee will set you back 60p.
Esplanade Road, portisheadopenairpool.org.uk, adults £5, kids £3.50
Sandford Lido, Cheltenham
This Olympic-length (50-metre) pool has a lovely art deco nostalgic feel. It is surrounded by comfortable grassy banks for sunbathers, and has showers. A recent refurbishment has done wonders. On a clear day you can see the Cotswold landmark of Cleeve Hill in the distance.
Keynsham Road, sandfordparkslido.org.uk, adults £4.30, kids £2.30
Bristol Lido, Bristol
In a busy world Bristol Lido provides the perfect sanctuary. Swimming, hot tub, sauna and a wonderful (suitably West Country foodie) restaurant are all discretely tucked away inside a pink cement block.
Oakfield Place, lidobristol.com, monthly membership from £56, one-off three-hour entry £20 including use of spa
Topsham Lock, Exeter
This is a glorious place to dip in the fresh, dark green waters of Exeter canal. Take a lovely walk or cycle ride along the towpath out of the city, and at Topsham Lock you can stop and swim and enjoy jumps off the bridge, before heading down to the Turf pub for a drink.
Pells Pools, Lewes
This grand old pool almost in the middle of Lewes in East Sussex is not only vast but also wonderfully refreshing, being fed by a local spring. Flanked on one side by a grassy picnic area with hornbeam trees for shade, it is best visited after a long bike ride or walk on the nearby South Downs.
Brook Street, pellspool.org.uk, adults £4, kids £2
Shepperton Lake, Shepperton, London
This fantastic privately run lake is clean, a great size for either training swims or a quick dip (there is a 750m and a 400m loop) with a friendly atmosphere whether you’re training for a triathlon or just like open-water swimming. There’s a shower, and drinks and snacks for after your dip.
Ferry Lane, sheppertonopenwaterswim.co.uk/new, £5
Brockwell Lido, London
In this oasis of calm close to Brixton, nothing beats swimming on my back looking up at a blue sky with the trees of Brockwell park waving in the breeze. Last week I was there at 7am – swam with a friend, picnic breakfast beside the pool (too early for the wonderful cafe) – and saw three ducks paddling lazily among the swimmers.
Dulwich Road, fusion-lifestyle.com/centres/Brockwell_Lido, adults £5, kids £3.90